Hit The Road...Running provides fitness training and education aimed at runners. This section is a collection of articles and white papers written by Tony Denford, founder of Hit The Road. Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments of any post.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Goal Setting

Goal setting is probably the most important part of any fitness program. Without a goal there is no real incentive to do the work necessary to obtain optimal fitness. All goals should have three elements. They should be achievable, they should be specific and they should have a timeline.

Take a few minutes today to think about what your fitness goals are. Don't leave it until tomorrow as it won't get done any you will end up like a ship without a rudder. Think about what you would like to achieve and when you'd like to achieve it. Once you've done this ask yourself if it is specific enough. It's not good enough to say 'run faster' or 'lose weight'. You want to be specific like 'I want to knock 2 minutes off my best 5K time' or 'I want to lose 5 pounds'.

Now that you have a specific goal, with a specific timeline you can start to plan the things you need to do to get you there. If your goal is to run a faster time, you could plan some speed workouts. If your goal is to lose 5 pounds you could plan to cut out the ice cream cake or do some additional cardio work or both. If the timeline you have in mind is unrealistic, adjust it so that it can be achieved. You cannot lose 30 pounds in 10 days but you may be able to do it within six months.

Once you have a goal and a plan to achieve it you can start to work towards it but you need to also make a commitment to getting it done. If you have setbacks along the way you can always adjust your goals but if you don't have a goal in the first place, you are far less likely to achieve something great!

With runners I often suggest signing up for races early so that you commit to continuing your training. Without a goal race, it's easy to miss a workout or two and once you do that it becomes a slippery slope and becomes harder to get back into it. Even if you have missed some workouts it still better to work towards a goal than to give up.

Challenge yourself today to set a goal race. If you want some suggestions you could check out http://hittheroadrunning.com/ as we often post upcoming local races.

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